Cabbies busted for credit card scam

- 13 taxi divers were busted in connection with a credit card scam that investigators say scammed nearly $40,0000 from unsuspecting passengers after charging them for phantom rides.  The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was alerted to suspicious electronic payments for high cost/short duration trips.

Investigators reviewed records from TLC and the electronic payment vendors to identify trips with these characteristics and interviewed the credit card holders who allegedly made the trips, finding that almost all of the card holders were not in New York City at the time of the transactions or had not used a taxicab on the days the trips had taken place.

DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said, "These taxi drivers turned their cabs into a crime scene.  They exploited their taxi's electronic payment systems to run up thousands of dollars in fake charges for fake rides, according to the charges."

According to arrest charges and DOI's investigation, the alleged fraud took place between January and July 2015.  Investigators say 12 TLC licensed drivers allegedly were using credit cards to make multiple transactions for high dollar amounts without the authorization of the card holders or their presence in the cabs, most of the "trips" lasting less than a minute, some with no distances at all, with charges ranging from $100 to $499 per trip.

According to the arrest charges, the following individuals were charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree; Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, both class D felonies; and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. Upon conviction, a class D felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison. According to the arrest charges and DOI's investigation:


*   JANZEB ALTAF, 22, of Queens, is charged with stealing $3,022 over 19 fraudulent transactions between February 2015 and April 2015. ALTAF processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .82 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $250 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.


*   JEAN MASSANGO, 43, of Tarrytown, N.Y., is charged with stealing $6,148 over 14 fraudulent transactions between January 2015 and March 2015. MASSANGO processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .26 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $491 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.


*   LIDIAL SECK, 51, of New York, is charged with stealing $7,916 over 25 fraudulent transactions between February 2015 and April 2015. SECK processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .34 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $499 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.

According to the arrest charges, the following individuals were charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, both class E felonies. Upon conviction, a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison:


*   MOULEVAIS BALTHAZARD, JR., 28, of Brooklyn, is charged with stealing $1,075 over seven fraudulent transactions between February 2015 and April 2015. BALTHAZARD processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .16 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $221 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.

*   ABOUBACAR JALLOH, 51, of Brooklyn, is charged with stealing $1,656 over four fraudulent transactions between January 2015 and March 2015. JALLOH processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .04 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $497 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.

*   MARIE LOUISSAINT, 42, of Brooklyn, is charged with stealing $1,186 over six fraudulent transactions during the month of May 2015. LOUISSAINT processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .07 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $219 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.


*   MAHER MANSOUR, 56, of Queens, is charged with stealing $2,825 over 15 fraudulent transactions between March 2015 and May 2015. MANSOUR processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .07 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $255 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.


*   ALHADI RAGAB-HILAL, 51, of New York, is charged with stealing $2,502 over ten fraudulent transactions between May 2015 and June 2015. RAGAB-HILAL processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .05 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $390 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.

*   MOUHAMODOU SECK, 59, of the Bronx, is charged with stealing $1,111 over four fraudulent transaction during the month of April 2015. SECK processed credit card transactions with trip distances of zero miles for fraudulent charges of up to $400 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.

*   MANJINDER SINGH, 25, of Queens, is charged with stealing $1,100 over three fraudulent transaction in March 2015. SINGH processed credit card transactions with trip distances of zero miles for fraudulent charges of up to $400 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs.

According to the arrest charges, YAHAYA DIABY, 35, of New York, is charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, class D felonies, in connection with the theft of $3,150 over 15 fraudulent transactions between February 2015 and April 2015. DIABY processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .16 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $350 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs. Upon conviction, a class D felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

According to the arrest charges, IBRAHIM FOFANA, 40, of the Bronx, is charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, in connection with the theft of $3,145 over 17 fraudulent transactions between April 2015 and July 2015. FOFANA processed credit card transactions with trip distances ranging from zero to .16 miles for fraudulent charges of up to $300 per trip, when the card holders were not present in New York City or not taking taxicabs. Upon conviction, a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison.

DOI also arrested MAMEFALL SECK, 58, of the Bronx, who was charged with Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, and related charges. Upon conviction, a class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year's incarceration. According to DOI's investigation, SECK was found late Wednesday, December 14, 2016, driving a cab assigned to his brother, MOUHAMODOU SECK.

Criminal complaints will be available after the defendants are arraigned in Queens Criminal Court.  Each defendant's TLC license was suspended upon their arrest. If convicted, TLC will revoke their license.

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